Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Piers Name
Origins of Piers:
It is an English surname created from the famous and old – established particular name “Peter,” which in old England more usually appeared as “Piers.” “Peter” acquires from the Greek “Petros,” which means “rock,” and was the name given by Jesus to Simon to be symbolic of steadfastness in belief. St. Peter was the beloved saint of the old parish and his name famous all over the Christendom during the Middle Ages. The version “Piers” is the French one, originally brought over by the Normans at the time of the invasion in 1066. There are at least sixteen various spellings of the name in the new era, from Pierce, Pearce, and Piers, to Peers, Peres and Perse. One “Danyell Pierce” was an early immigrant in America, departed from Ipswich on the “Elizabeth,” bound for New England, in 1634. The Royal symbol given to the family in 1641, has the blazon of a silver shield, two bars dark, in the mid of the six red estoiles (stars) three, two and one. The Peak being an arm in guard holding a lance, with the monogram as Cadenti porrigo dextram, changing as – I extend my right hand to the falling.
More common variations are: Pierse, Piears, Pieris, Pieros, Pieres, Piersa, Pieras, Peiers, Pierso, Piersy.
The surname Piers first appeared in Somerset where they held a family seat from old times and their first records showed on the poll rolls derived by the early Kings of Britain to decide the rate of taxation of their services.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Gilbert Perse, dated about 1250, in the “London Pipe Rolls.” It was during the time of King Richard I, who was known to be the “Lackland,” dated 1216 – 1272. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling variations of the original one.
Many of the people with surname Piers had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
The following century saw more Piers surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Piers who arrived in the United States in the 18th century included Thomas Piers settled in Pennsylvania in 1772
People with the surname Piers who settled in Canada in the 18th century included Lewis Piers, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749. Mary Piers, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750. Temple Piers, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1776.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Piers: South Africa 402; United States 396; France 269; Belgium 252; Netherlands 230; Canada 194; England 167; Australia 58; Rusia 46; Ukraine 16.
Dennis Walter Piers (May 1929–September 2005) was a South African cricket player who played two first-class matches for Orange Free State during the 1947-48 season.
Rear Admiral Desmond William Piers, CM DSC CD (June 1913–November 2005) was a rear-admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy. He was born in Halifax and long-time resident of Chester, Nova Scotia. He gave services in the RCN from 1932 to 1967. In 1930, he was the first graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (student # 2184) to join the RCN. He became minister of Nova Scotia in the United Kingdom in 1977.
Harry Piers (1870–1940) was a Canadian archaeologist. He was a long-serving and prominent archaeologist and scientist at the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Piers was born in February 1870 in Halifax.
Henry Piers (1568–1623), was an Anglo-Irish Member of Parliament, administrator, and author.
Sir Henry Piers, 1st Baronet (1629–1691), was an Anglo-Irish officer and historian.
John Piers (1522–1594), was an Archbishop of York.
Sir John Piers, 6th Baronet (1772–1845), was a famous playboy and duelist.
Julie Piers (born 1962), is an American golfer.
Sarah Piers (died 1719), was an English literary leader, political writer, and poet.
Piers Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Piers blazon are the lion, unicorn, eagle and pelican in her piety. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and or.
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The unicorn is an intresting example that is still part of our own mythology today. The unicorn as illustrated on even the most ancient coat of arms is still instantly recognisable to us today, and shares many of the same poses that both lions and horses can be found in. . Wade, the 18th century heraldic writer suggested that were adopted as symbols because of “its virtue, courage and strength”.
Where the lion is undisputed king of the animals, the eagle undoubtedly plays the same role in the realm of the birds, its use in this form dating back to at least the Roman period . They tend to be illustrated in quite some detail, especially in continental European arms, and have almost as wide variety of postures and accessories as the lion, well illustrated in the reference as well as being just the eagle’s head or eagle’s leg. The symbology of the eagle is deep and complex, Wade devotes several pages to the subject , but suffice it say that it has long been associated with Empire and those held in high honour – any armiger would be pleased to have any form of Eagle upon their arms!